A symbol of the promise of love and loyalty...
Waking up from a dreamless sleep she glanced at the clock. Rushing to get to work, she shuffled out of bed and raced to the bathroom, she came out to get dressed after washing up. Her walk was a little uncertain and slow. Picking up the pace she walked towards the closet and stared at the clothes that hung lifelessly. Pulling out one after the other, she threw them onto the floor. Nothing seemed fitting for the change her life was about to experience.
“What do you wear?” she wondered aloud, “on the day of your retirement?” Today was her retirement from a profession that she had dedicated thirty years of her life to. She had
worked as a neurosurgeon. She was done sitting at a desk, in a corner office and stare at the calendar waiting for a consultation or a meeting. Today, she was to hand the position over to her subordinate and that was that. She had been avoiding the dreaded day but alas here she was, feeling aged and weary; morbid as though she was walking to the guillotine. She felt out of sorts as though her life had lost all its purpose; her actions felt slow and like those of an automaton, uncoordinated and slow.
Thoughts quickly horded her mind: How was life going to go without work? What was she to do after today? All alone in a country where her children no longer resided and where her husband left her widowed? Unable to answer such questions — questions she had pushed to the farthest corner of her mind – she stepped in front of the floor length mirror and glanced at the reflection staring back at her.
She saw the silhouette of an aged woman, seasoned by the worries of motherhood, worn out by responsibilities, matured by the pain of being widowed much too early and strengthened from having to go through so many obstacles and now carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders. Her posture all slouched and rigid gave an image of great stress.
Today, she felt all sixty-four years of her life weighing her down. Head to toe she felt fragile and tired as though her own body was giving up on her, not willing to accompany her on the final walk to her office. Her hands once capable of cooking infinite meals at odd times, helping little ones walk and run, soothe injuries and holding a scalpel in the surgery room, now shook while tucking a strand of her hair behind her ear. She pondered over the fact that her dark locks once shiny and thick now were just a shadow of their former white self, thinning and limp. This thinning caused the exposure of an indented little scar adjacent to her hairline. The memory behind which was a rescue mission; when she struggled to pull her son out from under the table where he was stuck and bumped her head on the edge. Smiling gently at the memory of her chubby faced boy, she glanced at another faded mark; once a scar but now just a pale white crescent beneath the right eyebrow that was given to her, courtesy of her first born throwing a tantrum when he was being tucked in bed.
She was a silent knight, whom only nature acknowledged by adorning her pristine form with medals and laurels in the form of scars and wrinkles, stretch marks and cellulite, aching bones and joints.
Looking into her brown orbs that seemed to be burdened with the pain and wisdom harnessed through experience, their corners were smattered with crow’s feet that peeked out even when she wasn’t smiling, underneath her eyes were swells of dark circles, a symbol of the woes of motherhood and the demanding nature of her profession. Then sliding down from her straight nose, she looked at her lips that were themselves wrinkled and seemed to be held up by wrinkly lines that was her once young and smooth skin. Right under the lower lip was a little faded pink line, it was once a gash but thanks to timely treatment it was now unnoticeable unless examined closely. This little scar took her all the way back to her childhood, when she played the role of a protective older sister and tried to disentangle her brother from a bramble bush. While tugging him out, she herself was vaulted forward into the embrace of the merciless brambles, hence the scar.
Looking away from her face she looked at the sunken hollow of her throat and visible collar bones. Going past her ribs that were protruding outwards, she traced the smattering of white and pink scars around her abdomen and smiled. These constellations of faded white and pink were a testament to the labor that she had successfully gone through. The proof of which were the four precious lives that she had given birth to and raised. Sparing a look to her arms her eyes stopped at the slightly faded bruise on her left upper arm, a reminder of a sad and stressful time, when she had to donate blood to her mother due to the destructive nature of the disease that plagued her. Further down, all the way to the beginning of her ring finger she smiled at the faded indentation of a ring, her wedding band, which now hung alongside its other half, on a necklace around her neck, close to her heart. A myriad of emotions washed over her. This was linked to the memory of a joyous union in her life. A symbol of the promise of love and loyalty to her husband in this life and the hereafter.
Invigorated by such heartfelt memories she felt strength and confidence building up in her. She was starting to feel a positive aura building up around her. Strengthened by her returning spirit she glanced away from her arms and past her hips, overlooking the dips and bumps she acknowledged the pain in her knees as the result of all the love, hard work and effort she had put into every action for the past sixty-four years. She thought of the pain serving as a bittersweet reminder of the care and nurturing she had given to all the affairs of her life.
Be it her profession, her role as a mother, looking after four boys, maintaining cordial family relations or taking care of her husband, she had overtaxed herself and given her best and then some. She acknowledged her swollen ankles and cracked heels as a token for all the sacrifices she had made, as an award for all the tireless running she had done in the long and difficult race of life.
Feeling strong and beautiful once again, she smiled while cradling her stomach and glanced at her whole countenance. From her visage to her ankles, she was a warrior with battle scars, ones that she bore with pride and bravery. She was a silent knight, whom only nature acknowledged by adorning her pristine form with medals and laurels in the form of scars and wrinkles, stretch marks and cellulite, aching bones and joints.
Looking in the mirror she no longer saw a haggard old lady having no will to live rather she now saw a beautiful woman decorated head to toe in the wrinkles and scars that were the markings of different chapters in her long and well-spent life. These were her only constant reminders and companions in times of solitude, loneliness and self-doubt that she was a masterpiece created by memories, she had spent a life worth living, she had served the purpose of her creation, that she had sacrificed her desires for others, that she had truly ‘lived’ and not merely ‘survived’.
Turning towards the closet, she took out a random clothing article and wore it, adjusting the lapels she glanced towards her battle weary silhouette in pride and walked out forgoing makeup. She was a vibrant canvas smattered with all the different hues of life. She was indeed a masterpiece crafted by the skilled strokes of the Almighty. Yes, indeed, she was A Living Miracle. HH
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